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Tony Ortega

 (born 1958)
Tony David Ortega is active/lives in Colorado, New Mexico.  Tony Ortega is known for Latino/Chicano genre, figures in society.

Tony Ortega

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Tony Ortega
The following, submitted October 2004, is from the artist who is a resident of Denver, Colorado.

Tony Ortega holds an MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Colorado and is currently an assistant professor for Regis University. He received the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1999 and the Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1998. Tony Ortega's lifelong project is to contribute to a better understanding of cultural diversity by addressing the culture, history and experiences of Chicanos through his art.

I create artwork about the Latino experience through individual slices of life of the community, family and many other sectors of present-day society, both urban and rural. It is the collective that is important; it is the primary focus in all my work. The people in my artwork don't have individual features; they are faceless, yet each one is important in defining the group, the community interacting and participating in its many rituals, social settings, and group functions such as work, play, school and family celebrations. But more than that, each artwork is only part of the total picture, the Latino experience, not as an isolated phenomenon but as an active, integral part of American society. This artwork illustrates the changing environment in the United States.

Demographics of this country are changing as the population of Latinos increases. The border as we know it is changing. The border is no longer just at El Paso, Juarez, San Diego or Tijuana. The border is here in Denver; it is in Los Angeles and in Phoenix. The border either expands or is shot full of holes. Cultures and languages mutually invade and affect one another. The United States daily receives uncontainable migrations of human beings. This phenomenon is the result of multiple factors that include unemployment, overpopulation and especially the enormous disparity in North/South relations.

Despite the Internet, cell phones, and all the other communication gizmos of today's digital age, the seemingly antiquated technology of the printed poster has lost little of its importance in transmitting information. I take the posters, flyers, forms etc. that I find in my neighborhood or in my travels, and incorporate it into my art. In this body of artwork, I create environments of people and overlap icons and symbols. I print over these combined images and existing posters, flyers, forms etc. to show the integration of cultures, the changing demographics and present-day history of Latinos in the United States.

In the postmodern age, my visual language speaks to the issue of international migration, focuses on shifting demographics, draws from pop culture by using existing community posters and seeks to present truth at a more local, personal level.

University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, Master of Fine Arts, May, 1995
Rocky Mountain School of Art, Denver, Colorado Associate of Arts, Fine Art, August, 1982
University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, Bachelor of Arts Commercial Spanish;
Certificate in Latin American Studies, August, 1980
1999 Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts
1998 Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts
1998 Artist Fellowship, Colorado Council on the Arts
1991 AFDEY Award, Denver Art Museum

Boulder Community Hospital Foothills, Boulder, Colorado
Colorado Council on the Arts, Denver, Colorado
Centennial Campus of Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Child Health Association / Physician Assistant Program, University of Colorado Health Science Center, Boulder, Colorado
Center for the American West, University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado
City and County of Denver, Colorado
Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Denver, Colorado
Colorado Convention Center, Denver, Colorado
City of Greenwood Village, Colorado
City of Phoenix, Arizona
City of Seattle, Seattle, Washington
City of Westminster, Colorado
Dain Bosworth Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Delta Dental Insurance, Denver, Colorado
Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Northern Colorado Medical Center, Greeley, CO
University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
Western History Department of the Denver Public Library, Denver, CO
State Services Building, State of Colorado
School of Nursing, University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver, Colorado
Art Department, University of Southern Colorado, Pueblo, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Student Union Building, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian & Western Art, Indianapolis, Indiana
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna, California
Los Angeles County Art Museum, Los Angeles, California
Mexican Fine Art Center Museum, Chicago, Illinois
Mexican Museum, San Francisco, California
Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, New Mexico
Museo del Barrio, New York, NY
Museo Estudio Diego Rivera, Mexico City, Mexico
Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico


Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art, Bilingual Press, Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University
New Art of the West 8, catalog, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Borderlands, catalog, The Work of Art, by Dinah Zeiger, Colorado Biz, March

Colorado 2000, A Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Catalog

Profiles in Courage, 16th Street Mall Mural Celebrates Pioneer Women, by Joanne Ditmer, Denver Post, January 30, 1999
Art Equinox, Catalog People in Pastel, by Glenn Giffin, Denver Post, February 14
West by Southwest, by Michael Paglia, Westward, March 4-10

Art in Public Places, Colorado Council on the Arts, 1977-l998, Catalog Crisis, Catalog
1598, 1848, 1898: Conquest and Consequences, Catalog

View From Denver, Catalog, by the Denver Art Museum
Leading the West: One Hundred Contemporary Painters and Sculptors, by Donald Hagerty, Northland Publishing

"Arte de las Americas" (Catalog)
Catalog of Chicano Silkscreen Printing in the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives, Department of Special Collections, Donald C. Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, California
The Eiteljorg Innovational, New Art of the West (Catalog)

The Pueblo Chieftain, Pueblo, Colorado, Sunday, July 2, Article
The Salina Journal, Salina, Kansas, Wednesday, February 15, 1995, Article
Across the Street: Self-Help Graphics (Catalog)
ISOMATA: A Celebration of the Arts (Catalog)

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About  Tony Ortega

Born:  1958 - Santa Fe, New Mexico
Known for:  Latino/Chicano genre, figures in society